According to recent data, an estimated 1.5 million people have already lost their healthcare coverage since Medicaid redeterminations resumed on April 1. A majority of those were dropped due to missing paperwork or administrative errors. While these eligibility reviews are required by the federal government, the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have implored states to take steps to slow the purge of enrollees. “Pushing through things and rushing it will lead to eligible people — kids and families — losing coverage for some period of time,” said Daniel Tsai, a top federal Medicaid official. States with some of the highest rates of disenrollments include Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Indiana.
States have a year to complete the redetermination process, a daunting administrative undertaking that involves identifying changes in income or circumstances for Medicaid recipients. However, this task has proved to be difficult for state agencies, as many people have moved, haven’t updated their contact information, or are simply unaware of the process so they haven’t provided the necessary paperwork for renewal. And while those who lose coverage can have it restored retroactively, there is still concern among experts that the Medicaid unwinding will lead to high uninsurance rates. In a study carried out by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), researchers found that in the year following disenrollment from Medicaid, two-thirds of people experienced uninsurance at some point. While the redetermination process is required by federal law, it is critical that states take steps to ensure that those who are still eligible do not fall through the cracks over the next year.